CBDT Chairman Sushil Chandra was on Thursday appointed as an Election Commissioner ahead of the Lok Sabha polls due this summer. Chandra, an IIT graduate, is a 1980 batch officer of the Indian Revenue Service (Income Tax cadre). With his appointment, the EC now has Sunil Arora as the Chief Election Commissioner and Ashok Lavasa and Chandra as fellow commissioners. The Law Ministry issued a notification announcing his appointment. Chandra, 61, will have to resign from CBDT, where he is serving, before joining the poll panel. He will assume his new charge on Friday.
Since Chandra has expertise in taxation and investigation, he could help the poll panel in election expenditure by political parties and candidates, a senior EC official felt. Before Chandra, T S Krishnamurthy was the other IRS officer to be appointed as election commissioner. He went on to become the chief election commissioner in 2004.
Chandra was appointed as CBDT chief in November 2016 and has since been given two extensions. He was due to retire in May. When Om Prakash Rawat retired as chief election commissioner in November 2018, Arora, then an election commissioner, took over as the chief of the poll panel. After Rawat's retirement, there was a vacancy in the election watchdog which has now been filled.
While Arora and Lavasa are 1980 batch IAS officers, Chandra is also from the 1980 batch, but from IRS. Chandra will retire in May 2022 on turning 65. Lavasa would retire a few months later in October 2022. CEC Arora has a tenure till April 2012.
The CEC or an EC can have a tenure of six years or hold office till the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier. The convention is to appoint the senior-most election commissioner as chief election commissioner. Chandra completed his B Tech from Roorkee University and LLB from Dehradun and joined Indian Revenue Service in 1980.
He has served in Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Mumbai and has worked in the areas of international taxation and investigation at various places. He was commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals) International Taxation at Delhi. Before being appointed the chairman of CBDT, he was the member (Investigation) in the Board.